Josh Donaldson added to his personal highlight reel and Scott Kazmir added to his all-star credentials.
Donaldson homered and the third baseman made another spectacular defensive play in foul ground, Kazmir allowed three hits over seven innings and the Oakland Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Saturday night.
“He’s one of the toughest players in the American League,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Donaldson’s running into a metal cylinder that holds the tarp to make a grab. “He doesn’t think and has no regard for his body.”
Donaldson compared it to a goal line stand in football.
“The last time I was kind of able to measure it up,” he said. “This time I was going full speed into it. I felt like a running back trying to score a touchdown right there.”
Coco Crisp, Craig Gentry and Jed Lowrie drove in runs for the A’s, who won their third straight and seventh of 10 overall.
“When I was with Texas I saw Josh make a play just like that,” said Gentry, who also made a big defensive play of his own in throwing out a runner at the plate from left field in the eighth. “It’s pretty amazing. That’s a tough play.”
Kazmir (10-3) won for the fifth time in his last six decisions. He walked two and struck out eight, improving to 6-1 in eight home starts.
“After the first inning I felt pretty locked in,” Kazmir said. “I was able to use all my pitches, even ones that haven’t been working for me lately. As I got myself into the game, I felt more comfortable.”
Toronto’s Melky Cabrera, who had two hits, was thrown out at the plate to end the eighth. A review upheld the decision.
“This whole replay thing has become a joke in my eyes,” Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista said. “I think they should just ban it. They should just get rid of it. I don’t really understand the purpose of it but getting the right call on the field is not the purpose. That’s pretty obvious and evident.”
Bautista hit the double that Gentry fielded in the left field corner and threw to Lowrie, who threw to Derek Norris for the out.
“I don’t know which replay they were looking at, but clearly they must have had a different video feed than the one we had,” Bautista said. “It’s pretty frustrating for you to battle as a team, keep the game close, for our pitchers to be doing what they’re doing, for us to keep grinding three games and facing tough pitching, and somehow be able to get an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth inning and it all goes down the drain because somebody first initially made a bad call to begin with, and then it gets upheld by God knows who in some room in New York.”
Edwin Encarnacion drove in a run in the first inning for the Blue Jays and then had to leave the game with right quad soreness.
Mark Buehrle (10-6) pitched well but remained winless in six starts since June 1. He gave up three runs and 10 hits over six innings. Buehrle walked one and struck out three. He had a four-game winning streak against the A’s end.
On a day when the A’s traded for two top pitchers, they turned to their steady veteran to extend their hold as the AL’s best pitching staff.
Kazmir, who was the opposing pitcher when Buehrle threw his perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, retired 20 of 23 hitters after giving up singles to Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to start the game.
“Once he gets into rhythm he gets tough,” Melvin said. “We feel good when he’s out there. For me, he’s very deserving (all-star). He’s been awfully consistent this year.”
Encarnacion was hurt beating out a possible double play ball, allowing Reyes to score and putting the Blue Jays ahead. Encarnacion stepped on the first base bag, limped for a few steps and then tumbled to the ground.
“I wouldn’t guess it’d be a quick thing,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’ll get an MRI tomorrow or the next day and we’ll have a little better idea. He said he felt something pop in his quad. That’s all I know right now.”
Donaldson hit his 19th home run of the season, a solo shot over the fence in center field with two outs in the third to tie the game.
Crisp and Gentry hit bloop singles into right field that scored runs in the fourth. Lowrie added an RBI double in the eighth. He later scored on a passed ball.
“Buehrle is tough,” Gentry said. “He throws so many pitches. We were lucky enough to get some hits and push a couple of runs across.”
The Blue Jays are 2-7 over their past nine games and have dropped five straight on the road.
NOTES: The A’s optioned LHP Tommy Milone to Triple-A Sacramento to pave the way for RHP Jeff Samardzija to make his A’s debut on Sunday. … The Blue Jays claimed OF Cole Gillespie off waivers from Seattle. He’s expected to start Sunday. … Bautista is expected to play in right field on Sunday after getting a couple days as DH to help him rest a sore hamstring. … Blue Jays IF Steve Tolleson was held out of the starting lineup with a twisted ankle. … RHP Drew Hutchinson (6-6, 3.81) will start Sunday’s series finale for the Blue Jays. Hutchinson struck out a season-high 10 in his last start, a 4-1 victory over Milwaukee. … Oakland newcomer Jeff Samardzija is 0-2 with a 3.91 ERA over his last four starts. … A’s 1B Brandon Moss was not in the lineup after spraining his ankle on Friday. “It’s sore, but it’s nothing serious,” Moss said.
Updated July 6, 2014